Varadero, Cuba, May 4 (EFE).- Cuba is seeking to diversify its tourism offerings via its music, typical dances, culinary and artistic traditions, the Ministry of Culture (Mincult) announced Wednesday.
To achieve that, the ministry is featuring tourism options that range from “promoting academic events to performances of the prestigious Cuban National Ballet,” Mincult’s events director, Lis Cuesta, said during a presentation on the subject at the International Tourism Fair, FitCuba 2022.
The event, the largest such gathering in Cuba’s tourism sector, runs from Tuesday through Saturday in the coastal resort community of Varadero, the communist island’s sun and beach mecca.
Cuesta discussed Cuba’s efforts to diversify its tourism offerings before an audience consisting of many of those attending the fair, including President Miguel Diaz-Canel, noting that “the culture of Cuba has always been the bridge that links peoples.”
In the plan established by Cuban authorities, a key role is being played by Agencia Paradiso, a state-run organization specializing in cultural tourism with 20 years of experience in organizing events like the Jazz Plaza festival, the International Handicrafts Fair (FIART) and Habanarte.
Cuban authorities are pushing to resurrect the island’s tourism sector after the pandemic, given that tourism plays a key role in bringing in foreign currency and is vital for helping the country navigate its way out of the serious economic crisis resulting from the combination of the Covid-19 pandemic, the tightening of US sanctions and the failures of national economic management.
The Caribbean country, which is dependent on tourism income, reopened its borders in mid-November 2021 after prohibiting foreigners from entering to inhibit the spread of the coronavirus.
Tourism is the second-largest contributor to Cuba’s GDP, providing 10 percent of the island’s gross domestic product in 2019, and it is also the second-largest source of foreign currency.
The Cuban government expects to welcome 2.5 million international visitors this year, a goal that would bring in some $1.159 billion.
Cuban authorities have not modified their estimates for tourist arrivals or income despite the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant and the consequences of the war in Ukraine, which – above all – have affected Russian tourism to the island.